The New Orleans Saints gave up a lot to draft Dayton Flyers tight end Adam Trautman in the third round Friday — all their remaining picks at the time, in fact. That’s how much they believed in him.
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“We’re sitting there, and we’re just seeing this player that’s kind of out there by himself on our board,” Saints General Manager Mickey Loomis said in a conference call, “so we started calling. We had probably 10 or 12 teams that we’d called and had a couple that were close, but ultimately it was Minnesota and (we were) able to get that done. So we’re pretty excited about it.”
The Saints traded picks in the fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh rounds for the second-to-last pick of the third round. They later traded a sixth-round pick in 2021 to acquire the Houston Texans’ seventh pick, allowing them to make one last selection Saturday and take Mississippi State quarterback Tommy Stevens.
Trautman, who watched the draft Friday night in Dayton with his parents and brother, was the 41st player selected and the third player from outside the Football Bowl Subdivision, the top level of college football. The New England Patriots drafted Division II safety Kyle Dugger, of Lenoir-Rhyne, with the fifth pick of the second round. The Carolina Panthers selected safety Jeremy Chinn, of Southern Illinois, a Football Championship Subdivision program like Dayton, with the last pick of the second round.
“It means the world to me,” said Trautman, who also spoke on a conference call Friday night, “and I would not change a thing about where I went to school. I tell people that all the time. They ask me why did not I grad transfer or do this or that. I mean, I don’t really care. I love where I went to school, and I take a lot of pride in it and it’s awesome. I get all the texts from my teammates, and just the bond I built with them, it’s super special to me.”
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Saints head coach Sean Payton called Trautman a true Y tight end, a player with the size to block as well as receive.
“For a small-college player we feel he has really good in-line strength,” Payton told reporters. “He’s also someone that we think has real good hips. His change of direction, you can see that in how he sets up his routes. For someone who played at a smaller level, you see a dominant player.”
Trautman agreed with Payton’s assessment of him as a traditional Y tight end.
“I put my hand the dirt,” he said, “but that’s not for me to decide or anything like that obviously. But I mean I think I can do it all on the field as a tight end.”
Payton also sees Trautman as a “Saint player,” meaning he’s a “smart, tough” guy who can learn quickly. Trautman joins an offense that ranked seventh in the NFL in passing yards per game (265.3).
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“We felt he was one of the better blocking tight ends in this draft,” Payton said. “I’d say especially for a player that played at a small school, we had a clear vision for an in-line wide. I think he will be able to carry the weight and gain some weight. But we also felt this player was loose in the hips and was pretty good in his change of direction. I think after the season ended he had a good spring. The impressions after the season were very good with him. He was another one I clearly wouldn’t have seen him available at the end of the third round. That’s how it works.”
Trautman didn’t have much contact with the Saints before the draft but said he knew they were interested in him. He watched film on the Saints and about 25 teams in all.
“I’m a pretty big football junkie,” Trautman said, “so I watch a lot of film on a lot of teams pre-draft process just to kind of like match it up with my college offense and see and just read coverages and count it out and all that kind of stuff.”
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